Our volunteers, the unsung heroes

19 Jun 2009
IOC News Beijing 2008

Zhang Jiayu, was one of the 70.000 Beijing volunteers. She worked at the Information Desk of one of the Olympic Family Hotels. Jiayu shared on www.olympic.org her impression and feelings about being a volunteers, as thousands and thousands have experience it before her at Olympic Games.

Vancouver is in the process of recruiting the volunteers for the 2010 Winter Games. London 2012 and Sochi 2014 will rely heavily on the force of volunteering. “Volunteers are true Olympians and transmit the real spirit of the Olympic Games”. It is in these words that IOC President Jacques Rogge praised the role and impact of these “unsung heroes”. Zhang Jiavu was happy to answer a few questions Olympic.org was asking her.

Why did you want to volunteer for the Olympics and how did you get chosen?
I took an examination that tested our English and I passed. Because we have to communicate a lot with foreigners, they were looking for students with language skills and knowledge about different countries and cultures. And I wanted to volunteer because I wanted to work for the Olympics. This is the first time for China to host the Olympics and I thought I had to do something for the Games, so I became a volunteer.

What does your day consist of as a volunteer?
I work about 8 hours, and my shift is 2.30 to 10 p.m. Mostly we explain many, many questions to all our guests. For example, where is the accreditation centre? Where is the subway? Can you write down the Chinese name of a place? But the most common question is, “How do I get to the Beijing Hotel?”, which is right across the street.

What do you like most about being a volunteer?
Because Beijing is such a big city there are many places that I don’t know, so I cannot guarantee I will know the answer to every question without getting on the Internet or calling someone. But every time I help a guest solve a problem I learn a new place and how to go there, and maybe next time I won’t have to check and can tell them the exact information. I think it is helpful for me to do all these things.

What will you do once the Olympics are over?
Studies are waiting and then I want to take a job.

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